As OTA's and minicamps progress while training camp begin to roll over the horizon, America's favorite sport nears its regular season. While nobody knows how well teams will do in a season with the randomness of injuries and several other factors, it's always interesting to look ahead at the schedule and prognosticate. Unlike most people, I'm not going to give just a win or loss for each game, rather I'm going to predict how many times the Steelers would win if they played a team 10 times. For instance if the Steelers were playing a very crappy team, I would say 9/10 or 10/10. At the end i will add up the wins and divide by 10, giving us how many wins they will have this season.
Week 1 Titans at Steelers
A great season opener with two teams that have plenty of history as well as new found bad blood. The Titans are coming off a very disappointing post-season last year after earning the best regular season record last year. While the Titans should still be a good team, they are losing quite possibly the most dominating DT in the game, Albert Haynesworth. Unfortunately when the Titans "stomped" the Steelers last season, Haynesworth didn't play either, so no real gain there. The big question will be Kerry Collins, and I think his arm will just about fall off. I'll give the Steelers 6/10.
Week 2 Steelers at Chicago
The 2009 Bears will be a team to watch in 2009 with the addition of Jay Cutler. With his ability to throw the ball down the field, Devin Hester may finally be able to reach his potential as a burner at WR. The Bears will also be returning their star RB, Matt Forte, who impressed last season with over 1,200 yards. Their defense should be solid as always, but the major question will be chemistry with Cutler and the WR's. By week 2, will they have enough time together to have their timing down? Probably not. I give the Steelers 8/10.
Week 3 Steelers at Bengals
Bengals have made some noise this off season picking players like Roy Williams, Andre Smith, Laveranues Coles and Ray Maualuga. Carson Palmer should be healthy and in shape by the time this game rolls around. While all this is good, the problem with the Bengals has never been a lack of talent, rather a lack of discipline. The fact that they will be featured on this year's Hard Knocks is no help to this problem. Coach Marvin Lewis has proven of the years that he doesn't have what it takes to lead men. I'll give the Steelers 9/10.
Week 4 Chargers at Steelers
The Chargers had a tough regular season last year due to many injuries, but managed to win their division due to a lack of competition. The 2009-2010 Chargers should be a large improvement this year with health and the continued bettering of Phillip Rivers. It will be interesting to see how well Shawn Merriman returns from his ACL surgery, seeing whether or not he will be lights out or just in the dark. I'll give the Steelers 7/10.
Week 5 Steelers at Lions
The lions just plane stink. Their team has about two solid players on the roster. While they should improve from their performance from last year, they still will be far and away from being a legitimate team. I'll give the steelers 10/10 on this one.
Week 6 Browns at Steelers
The Browns have lost a ridiculous eleven straight games to the Steelers and have failed to make any large improvements from last season. In fact they also gave up one of the biggest Steeler Killers in Kellen Winslow Jr. Shaun Rodgers will still be a dominant player up front, but after that there is nothing really to talk about. The Steelers should Continue to easily handle the browns in the 2009-2010 season. 10/10 for the Steelers.
Week 7 Vikings at Steelers
The Vikings have a very similar philosophy to the Steelers of old. Pound the rock and stop the run. The major difference between these two teams however is Ben Roethlesberger. While the Vikings are stuck in the mud when it comes to finding a franchise QB, The Steelers have been set at this position for years. It will be a great game with a focus on Adrian Peterson against the Steelers D. I'll give 6/10 to the Steelers
Week 8 -BYE-
Week 9 Steelers at Broncos
Broncos have had a crazy off season, trading away a franchise QB and ransacking free agency for several former Eagles. The problem for the Broncos in 2008 was their defense, giving up a horrendous 28 points a game. In the 2009 season it looks like their problems will be not only the defense again, but also the QB. Kyle Orton is not a Starter, but he will be trusted to head the Broncos to a legitimate season. Have fun with that Denver, I'll give 9/10 to the Steelers.
So if we add all those up and divide by 10, we get 6.7, or 7 wins in the 1st half of the 2009-2010 season. Pretty good stuff if you ask me, but it makes sense when you see we are returning 20/22 starters from a Super Bowl winning team. In my next post I will break down the rest of the schedule.
Keywords: Adrian Peterson, Andre Smith, Ben Roethlesberger, Carson Palmer, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Devin Hester, Jay Cutler, Kellen Winslow Jr., Kerry Collins, Kyle Orton, Laveranues Coles, Matt Forte, Minnesota Vikings, Phillip Rivers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ray Maualuga, Roy Williams, San Diego Chargers, Shaun Rodgers, Shawn Merriman, Tennesse Titans